New year’s time means for Judoka it’s about time to travel to Austria. The OLYMPIC TRAINING CAMP (OTC) in MITTERSILL is pretty much the number one among the world-wide training camps – with 28 editions so far and up to 1.300 guests (1.000 athletes) from more than 50 countries. After two pandemic years the 29th edition will take place from 9th to 17th of January. And again 4-digit-numbers will be reached: About 1.100 guests and 800 guests from 45 countries are expected to come. The current entry list includes 7 world number one athletes, 14 Olympic champions and 5 reigning World Championship gold medal winners. A total of 56 top-ten-athletes are supposed to travel to the small town of 5.500 inhabitants located in the Pinzgau region of the Alps. It’s a tourist spot with lots of skiing areas nearby.
“The closer we get to the start of the OTC, the more I am scared to have forgotten one or two details or that we might face last minute cancellations. To organise the Mittersill Olympic Training Camp happens to be a full-time-job during those last days before the arrivals”, explains local organizer Albert GMEINER, Vice-President of Judo Austria. Just three persons are handling all of the requests. “We did expect a restart, would have been happy with 500+ entries. We did not believe to be able to come close to pre-pandemic figures. It’s great to see how many big names will be coming back.”
Why is the OTC Mittersill that popular? “This question I have asked myself a couple of times, but there is no convincing explanation. I would guess, there are a few factors involved: We are trying to service the athletes and coaches as much as possible. We do provide sport suited nutrition, short distances between the training venue, gym and accommodation and lots of top-class athletes for each randori session. Moreover Mittersill offers winter holiday atmosphere and a variety of leisure activities. The whole Judo family is still quite relaxed, as there are a few weeks to go until the restart of competitions”, believes Albert Gmeiner.
Just one example. “We have asked double Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK for any special requests, but we were told he is happy to stay with the Czech team on a farm in walking distance to the training hall.” It’s all about high-quality opponents and family atmosphere, isn’t it?
Some facts and figures about Mittersill OTC 2023 (09 – 17 January):
- Host Austria will have 86 athletes on site (including Olympic Silver medal and Masters winner Michaela Polleres/-70 and Olympic and World Championship Bronze medal winner Shamil Borchashvili/-81), followed by the teams of Hungary (46), Italy (44) and Netherlands (40).
- The entry list includes 14 Olympic champions (single weight category: Distria Krasniqi/KOS/-48, Nora Gjakova/KOS/-57, Lasha Shavdatuashvili/GEO/-73, Lasha Bekauri/GEO/-90, Lukas Krpalek/CZE/+100; mixed-team: Shirine Boukli, Amandine Buchard, Sarah Leonie Cysique, Margaux Pinot, Madeleine Malonga, Romane Dicko, Luka Mkheidze, Guillaume Chaine, Axel Clerget/all FRA), 7 IJF World Ranking leaders (Shirine Boukli/FRA/-48, Barbara Matic/CRO/-70, Romane Dicko/FRA/+78, Tato Grigalashvili/GEO/-81, Davlat Bobonov/UZB/-90, Ilia Sulamanidze/GEO/-100) and 5 World Championship gold medal winners from Tashkent 2022 (Barbara Matic/CRO/-70, Romane Dicko/FRA/+78, Tato Grigalashvili/GEO/-81, Davlat Bobonov/UZB/-90, Muzzaffarbek Turoboyev/UZB/-100). In total there will be 56 top-10-athletes training together.
- EJU President László Tóth, the Vice Presidents Otto Kneitinger, Sergei Aschwanden and Hrvoje Lindi as well as Secretary General Martin Poiger will be travelling to Mittersill for a large number of meetings and workshops (sports and referee commissions, media & marketing).
Author: EJU Media